Josh Brolin and Benicio del Toro
The sequel to Sicario, Denis Villeneuve’s labyrinthine look at the drug war raging along the U.S.-Mexico border, has relevance on its side, but whether that current applicability is a boon or bane may depend on one’s political ideology. The movie opens with a stunning declaration that the Mexican cartels run the border before an even more stunning suicide via bombing by a Muslim terrorist disguised as a migrant. Then more terrorists blow up a grocery store.
I cannot claim to know that Hell or High Water screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, who made his directorial debut with Wind River, scripted these scenes based on Trump tweets, but movies inspired by true stories are not exactly based in reality, either. Still, the hilariously over-subtitled Sicario: Day of the Soldado works more than it does not, thanks to grim but fleet direction by Italian filmmaker Stefano Sollima and the presence of Benicio del Toro, an Oscar winner able to bring depth to the cardboard Latino cutouts that litter Hollywood features.